There may not have been any big check presentations the last few months, but social distancing has not prevented Pee Dee Electric Cooperative’s Trust Board from sharing their love of community. In March, April and May, six local organizations received donations from the cooperative’s Operation Round Up fund totaling $11,500.
One donation, $2,500 to the Florence Regional Airport, provided some enhanced security and a new friend. Dexter, a specially trained German shepherd from the Czech Republic who arrived at the airport in March with his own passport, can detect 18 different types of explosives.
“Having Dexter as part of our security team makes it safer for our passengers and our staff,” explains Robert Norton, deputy director of Florence Regional Airport and Dexter’s master. “He sleeps right next to the bed and fits in well with our other dogs, but he takes his job very seriously.”
Dexter, named after the main character in the Showtime crime drama series of the same title, is trained to sniff out explosives and different forms of gun powder on people, luggage, cars and in buildings. He will continue training at Tarheel Canine Training in Sanford, North Carolina. Norton explained they have mutual aid agreements with SLED in the surrounding areas should they have a need for Dexter.
“Pee Dee Electric was thrilled to donate Operation Round Up funds to help with the purchase of Dexter,” says Jeff Singletary, the cooperative’s vice president of marketing, “He will help in making our communities a safer place to live and work.”
Other Operation Round Up donations included $2,500 to Darlington Senior Center Meals on Wheels, $2,500 to the American Red Cross, $1,500 to Lighthouse Ministries, $1,500 to the Community Youth Learning Center in Britton’s Neck, and $1,000 to New Vision Community Development Corporation.
Pee Dee’s Operation Round-Up program is designed to help those who are having hardships and improve the quality of life for everyone in the Pee Dee. The program is funded by PDEC members, who voluntarily round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. The money collected is awarded to local charities and organizations in the Pee Dee area for needs such as food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education and safety. Funds are distributed monthly as determined by the Pee Dee Electric Trust Board, made up of community leaders representing PDEC’s six-county service area.